Scheduling conflicts are a fact of life for summer festivals. Lollapalooza — the massive three-day fest that takes over Chicago’s Grant Park every August — is no exception.
Lolla should be spent drinking Bud Light, enjoying the music, and maybe receiving some nasty side-eye from a hot dog vendor for asking for ketchup. But far too many festival-goers waste time stressing over unfortunate crossovers in stage time.
Fear not: we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make the difficult choices for you.
The War On Drugs vs. Alabama Shakes
When: Friday, 5:30-6:30 (The War on Drugs); 5:45-6:45 (Alabama Shakes)
The conflicts kick off with a battle of the dad bands. While the kids are off raging to DJ Snake at Perry’s, the over-25 set will have to choose between The War on Drugs’ woozy Lost In The Dream schtick or Alabama Shakes’ Muscle Shoals stomp. We thought enough of The War on Drugs to pick them over parody-god Weird Al at Gov Ball, but the choice here is obvious. You have to go with the band that appears to be making an attempt to move toward 2015. Alabama Shakes’ latest does just that.
The Pick: Alabama Shakes
Alt-J vs. Young Thug
When: Friday, 6:30 – 7:45 (Alt-J); 6:50-7:30 (Young Thug)
On the surface, you wouldn’t think this is much of a conflict. Alt-J is a nerdy, English band that mixes folk sounds with electronic textures. Young Thug is an alien who happens to like making strip club music.
Where the two intersect is their desire to push the boundaries of their respective genres. Alt-J is blurring the lines between electronica and guitar rock, Young Thug is doing the same between the English language and gibberish.
What earns Thug the win is the fact that Alt-J is very consciously trying to be weird, using a delta sign for a band name and making very studied compositions. Young Thug just leaks strange out of his pores every time he walks in the studio.
The Pick: Young Thug
Gogol Bordello vs. Bully vs. Lord Huron
When: Sunday, 5:45-6:45 (Gogol Bordello); 5:40-6:20 (Bully); 5:30-6:30 (Lord Huron)
The dreaded three-way conflict. And this one is particularly vicious.
On the one hand, you have the wild stageshow of gypsy-punks Gogol Bordello. On the other, you have Nashville upstarts Bully. And on some third mutant hand, you have the ultimate wanderlust troubadours, Lord Huron.
Which path you choose largely depends on how you’re feeling by the end of the weekend. If you want to dance and see a raucous half-circus, head to Gogol Bordello. If you want to dance and vent at the same time, head to Bully.
If you’re dying and need to relax and let the music wash over you, get to Lord Huron.
The Pick: Gogol for the show, Bully for the music, Huron for a break.
TV on the Radio vs. FKA Twigs
When: Sunday, 7:45-8:30 (FKA Twigs); 7:30-8:30 (TV on The Radio)
This is too much cool at one time. This conflict was set up just to make the Pitchfork crowd pull a Scanners.
The choice is between FKA Twigs’ experimental, trippy take on R&B or TV On The Radio’s apocalyptic indie rock. All apologies to the future Mrs. Robert Pattinson, but I have to go with the band that has released five albums that all deserve a place among the best of the century.
The Pick: TV on the Radio
No matter what band you see, make time for Bud Light’s Traveling House of Whatever. Featuring music, surprises, and unique moments, get in the spirit of Lolla and be up for whatever.